Watson roars back to claim victory

Heather Watson fought back from the brink against Ksenia Pervak (AP)

Heather Watson fought back from the brink against Ksenia Pervak (AP)

First published in National Sport News © by

Heather Watson pulled off another great escape at the Australian Open, saving three match points on her way to a three-set win over Ksenia Pervak.

The 20-year-old from Guernsey, who hit back from a set and a break down to beat Alexandra Cadantu in round one, found herself 6-3 down in a second-set tie-break having dropped the first.

But she staved off the danger, thanks largely to some wonderful defensive tennis, and then ran through the decider to clinch a remarkable 4-6 7-6 (9/7) 6-2 victory and a place in round three.

Despite being roared on by a vociferous crowd on court eight, Watson looked nervous in an error-strewn opening set. The British number one threw in 19 unforced errors compared to just three winners as Pervak's greater weight of shot prompted her to go for more.

And when another wayward backhand saw her go 2-0 down in the second it was again looking an uphill struggle. But for a dubious line call it would have been 3-0, but Watson made the most of her fortune to break back and then level at 2-2.

It remained on serve until the breaker which appeared to be going the way of the Kazakh when a poor forehand gave Pervak three chances to claim the match at 6-3. But world number 50 Watson dug deep to get out of trouble and claim it on her second set point.

After a second lengthy comfort break, Pervak returned but her will had been broken. Watson cruised into a 4-0 lead and then served it out reach the last 32, equalling her best run at a grand slam, achieved at Wimbledon last year.

She will next face in-form Pole Agnieszka Radwanska, who earlier recorded her 11th win on the trot in 2013 against Irina-Camelia Begu. The fourth seed has yet to drop a set this calendar year and warmed up for Melbourne by claiming the titles in Auckland and Sydney.

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